Every team has one, from professional major to the smallest group. It is something that is as much a part of a team as players or coach. It helps create a brand and gives loyal fans something to hold, promote and cherish. Without it merchandise cannot be made and t-shirts cannot be worn. Some would consider one a crucial part of any hockey team, and without a solid one something is lost.
The logo of a hockey club is an important part of a team’s identity. That logo is not only on the jersey, but the t-shirts, program, website, puck, advertising and much more. A strong logo does not mean a strong team or even a successful team, but it can make a fan feel proud to wear a team’s colours.
So which teams in the AHL have the best logos and which have the worst? Take a look at which teams I think are the best of the best, and the worst of the worst.
1. Manitoba Moose
The current logo for the Moose is a major upgrade from the previous incarnation. The original logo was derived from the francise’s original home in Minesotta which was used for ten years. In 2004 the current logo was first used. The logo features an angry moose looking over a forest skyline framed by a full moon. Below the large moose is the name of the team stylized with a maple leaf. This logo is a good example of strong, modern logo design.
2. Charlotte Checkers
While the name of the team is a little unusual, the logo for the Checkers is strong. The team is new to the AHL in 2010-2011 after the Albany River Rats were relocated to the city to replace Charlotte’s ECHL team. The logo for the Checkers features a growling white bear in front of a city skyline with the team’s name below. This logo is another good example a strong, modern logo design.
4. Toronto Marlies
The Toronto Marlies started in the city in 2005 when the franchise was relocated from St. John’s. The logo features a shield with crossed hockey sticks in front of a stylized maple leaf, reminiscent of the original logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team name is centred in front of the sheild inside a banner. The logo is in blue and white, the same colours as the parent team. This logo is another strong example of modern logo design.
5. Hamilton Bulldogs
6. Binghamton Senators
7. San Antonio Rampage
8. Abbotsford Heat
9. Rochester Americans
10. Lake Erie Monsters
11. Hartford Wolf Pack
14. Rockford IceHogs
15. Worcester Sharks
17. Peoria Rivermen
18. Manchester Monarchs
19. Portland Pirates
20. Houston Aeros
21. Hershey Bears
22. Syracuse Crunch
23. Springfield Falcons
24. Texas Stars
25. Adirondack Phantoms
26. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
27. Albany Devils
The logo of the Bruins is clearly a modification of the parent NHL team, the Boston Bruins. However instead of the “B” inside the circle there is a “P” for Providence. While the logo certainly is recognizable and stands out as the Bruins, perhaps having an original logo that makes use of a bear (the definition of Bruin) would be more creative as well as create a unique marketing opportunity.
29. Milwaukee Admirals
There are two teams called the Admirals in the AHL, the other being in Norfolk. The Milwaukee Admirals joined the AHL during the expansion in 2001 when the IHL folded. This logo has been in use for the Admirals since 2006, and while it is the best the team has used thus far it is still bad. There is another iteration of the logo called the ‘full body’ logo which is a little better, but is still very cartoony. This logo is simply a grinning skull wearing a naval officer’s hat above the name of the team. A little more intensity in the logo, and using the edgy modern logo design would greatly improve this logo.
30. Connecticut Whale
The Hartford Wolf Pack will be re-branding the franchise during the 2010-2011 season to bring back some tradition. Prior to the Wolf Pack, the city was served with an NHL franchise in the Hartford Whalers. The Wolf Pack took the place of the Whalers when that team was relocated. The new team name will be an homage to the original NHL team, changing not only the name but also the team colours. The new logo features a blue whale swimming through a green ‘C’ but is somewhat underwhelming. Considering that this logo is designed for use in 2011 it could have been far better. The NHL Canucks have made a better use of a whale in their logo as does the original design for the Connecticut Whalers.
31. Chicago Wolves
The absolute worst logo in the league is this one for the Chicago Wolves. With the variety of options available to make a strong logo featuring a wolf (or wolves) this logo is very weak and reminiscent of a logo from the seventies (see original Hamilton Tiger-Cats logo before updated in 2005). There are a great number of other professional teams which showcase a wolf in the logo, including the NBA Timberwovles, the IWFL Wolves, and the Wollongong Wolves FC in Australia. This logo needs a modern update.
Strong logos don’t necessarily make for a strong team. A team can have a poor logo and still perform admirably on the ice. The Chicago Wolves, for example, have been listed as having the worst logo in the AHL yet they have won two Calder Cups since 2001. This list is not a serious critique of an AHL franchise, but a showcase for what makes a strong logo and what makes a weak one.
The choices, and order of rank, are all based on my personal opinion. Which team do you think has the best logo in the AHL and why? Who has the worst and what makes it so?
*note there are 31 teams listed here and only 30 teams in the AHL. The Hartford Wolf Pack will be changing their logo and name later this season but are still active with the Wolf Pack moniker. The upcoming name change to the Connecticut Whale is the 31st team.